ATC150901: Report of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the Notice of Intervention issued in terms of Section 139(1)(B) of the Constitution, (1996), in Ventersdorp Local Municipality, dated 1st September 2015
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON COOPERATIVE GOVERNANCE AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS ON THE NOTICE OF INTERVENTION ISSUED IN TERMS OF SECTION 139(1)(b) OF THE CONSTITUTION, (1996), IN VENTERSDORP LOCAL MUNICIPALITY, DATED 1ST SEPTEMBER 2015
- Introduction and Background
1.1 On the 23 March 2015, the MEC for Local Government and Human Settlement in the North West Province tabled to the Office of the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), a Notice of intervention in Ventersdorp Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
1.2 Subsequent to the tabling, the Chairperson of the NCOP referred the notice of intervention in terms of Rule 101 of the NCOP, to the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, for consideration and report. On the 18 August 2015, the Select Committee conducted an oversight visit to the Ventersdorp Local Municipality.
- Objectives of the Oversight Visit
2.1 The objective of conducting the oversight visit was to consult and interact with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality in order to solicit their opinion with regard to the constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the intervention in the Municipality, in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
- Composition of Delegation
3.1 The delegation of the Select Committee was composed of the following Members of Parliament and Officials: Hon J Mohapi, Free State (ANC); Hon T Wana, Eastern Cape (ANC); Hon S Thobejane, Limpopo (ANC); Hon D Ximbi, Western Cape (ANC); Hon T Mhlanga, Mpumalanga (ANC); Hon G Manopole, Northern Cape (ANC); Hon J Julius, Gauteng (DA); Hon M Chetty, KwaZulu-Natal (DA); Hon G Michalakis, Free State (DA); Hon T Mokwele, North West (EFF); Mr T Manele (Committee Secretary ); Mr N Mfuku (Content Advisor); Mr B Mahlangeni (Committee Researcher) and Mr L Ben (Committee Assistant).
4. General Overview of Oversight Visit to Venterdorp Local Municipality
4.1 On the 18 August 2015, the delegation of the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs had interaction and consultative meeting with the internal and external stakeholders of the Municipality. The internal and external stakeholders the delegation interacted with included the MEC for Local Government and Human Settlement, Mayor, Speaker, Chief Whip, Administrator, representatives of the South African Local Government Association, Business Formation, Organised Labour, Ward Committee Members, Youth and Women Formations.
5. Presentation on Intervention in Ventersdorp Local Municipality
5.1 The Provincial Department of Local Government and Human Settlement made a presentation on the constitutional, procedural and substantive matters related to the invocation of section 139(1)(b) in Ventersdorp Local Municipality.
6. Terms of Reference of the Intervention
- Assuming the executive powers of the council and prioritizing water and sanitation services. This included the facilitation of new projects, unblocking of old projects, maintenance of infrastructure and cleansing.
- Stabilizing and improving administration within the Municipality.
- Improving the financial controls in the Municipality, expenditure management, procurement processes, as well as addressing Auditor-General’s reports.
- Analysing and implementing of past and current investigations, commission of enquiry and forensic audits.
- Dealing with outstanding disciplinary cases, labour disputes, functionality of the Local Labour Forum and instilling a culture of work and discipline amongst workers.
- Facilitating the improvement of governance within council (council oversight role, relations between council and administration).
- Concluding the disciplinary case of the previously suspended and re-instated managers (develop charges and commence with disciplinary processes).
- Investigating all recently awarded contracts to establish validity and legitimacy thereof and terminate those that are not legitimate in terms of applicable regulations.
- Investigating and taking appropriate action on any transgressions and contraventions to applicable legislations and regulations.
7. Presentation on the Municipal Plan
7.1 The Administrator made a presentation on the municipal plan of action. The presentation focused on improving service delivery, stabilizing and improving administration, financial management, current and past investigations, labour matters, improving governance, conducting disciplinary cases, investigating all awarded contracts, actions on contraventions and transgressions of legislation and regulations, compliance with back to basics and progress reports.
8. Service Delivery
8.1 The main deliverables for action plan includes ensuring that systems are in place to advertise for new projects and appoint consultants and contractors, in order to provide water, sanitation and construction before the end of October 2015. The Municipality has made progress in closing the bid for appointment of a consultant. Despite the progress made, the Municipality has experienced challenges with regard to unblocking of old projects, maintenance of infrastructure and waste collection, due to the protracted strike since November 2015, which contributed to the collapse of refuse collection. However, the situation has normalized as employees have shown positive commitment to their work.
9. Stabilizing and Improving the Administration
9.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes convening meetings with the Mayor, Chief Whip and managers in order to agree on approach to stabilize the municipal administration. The Mayor, Speaker and Chairpersons of the section 79 committees have been given responsibility to ensure the functionality of committees. These committees have made progress in considering quarterly the MFMA section 52(d) reports, quarterly and annually supply chain management and performance, oversights and adjustment reports.
9.2 The Municipality has also made significant progress in ensuring the resuscitation and functionality of the Local Labour Forum, and attending to all the concerns raised by labour and notice by the Department of Labour.
10. Financial Management
10.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes the approval of the 2015/16 budget control and the implementation on both capital and operational budgets by the Office of the Administrator, prior to processing of payments. The Municipality has made progress in ensuring the payment of R16 million to Eskom from June to July 2015, in terms of the agreement. The Municipality has also registered progress in respect of payments of salaries, allowances, pensions and medical aids and travelling as per Government duties. The office of the Administrator has drafted a policy on unauthorized, irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure in terms of the MFMA Circular 68 as advised by the National Treasury. The Municipality has also made progress in respect of Accounts Payable Policy to be tabled to the council for consideration and adoption.
10.2 The policies on virement, supply chain management, credit control and debt management have been approved and adopted by the Council on the 28 March 2015. The top thirty businesses that owe the Municipality for a period exceeding thirty days in the debtors’ analysis of May 2015, have been engaged in the Municipal Chamber for making commitment on making required arrangements in terms of the credit control.
11. Current and Past Investigations
11.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes an enquiry to get all documentation for any past investigation, through the Office of the Acting Municipal Manager. The Municipality has not registered any progress except obtaining files from the Lawyers of the implicated senior officials.
12. Labour Matters
12.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes the plan to have a meeting with SAMWU and IMATU to revive the Local Labour Forum. The Municipality has made significant progress in addressing all concerns raised by organised labour including the functionality of Local Labour Forum.
13. Improving Governance
13.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes scheduling meeting with stakeholders such as the Mayor, Chief Whip and Acting Municipal Manager. The Municipality has made progress with regard to the scheduling of meetings of MPAC and the Troika, with the purpose of clarifying roles and responsibilities. The draft oversight report has been submitted to the Auditor-General for quality assurance and would be tabled to the Chairperson of the MPAC, Department of Local Government and Human Settlement, Department of Finance and the Department of Economy and Enterprise Development.
14. Concluding Disciplinary Cases
14.1 The main deliverable for this action plan includes the plan to obtain all files pertaining to disciplinary cases and engage the services of the legal person to finalize the matters. The Municipality has made progress in obtaining the files from the Directorate of Corporate Support and the report from the Special Investigating Unit. The report for charging the perpetrator was scheduled to be tabled at in council on 28 August 2015.
15. Investigating Awarded Contracts
15.1 The main deliverable of this action plan includes the request of all documentation regarding the existing contracts from the Acting Municipal Manager, so as to check their validity. The Municipality has made progress in using the service of the legal firm. The Administrator has discovered that some contractors did not go through the supply chain processes, but were awarded contracts.
16. Opinion of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
16.1 The representative of the Association informed the delegation of the Select Committee that SALGA has provided dedicated support to four targeted municipalities in the Province to improve the effectiveness of the oversight and accountability role of MPAC on the 23 June 2015. It coordinated the participation of SALGA in the provincial anti-corruption engagement/activities on 9 and 12 June 2015. It further facilitated the roll out of MASP to Greater Taung Local Municipality on the 24 April 2015, 28 April 2015 in Ventersdorp and 24 Aril 2015 in Maquassi Hills. It also facilitated the support engagement process with the following municipalities: Tswaing, Ventersdorp and Ngaka Modiri Molema on the 18 and 23 June 2015.
16.2 The representative of the Association requested the NCOP delegation to ensure that the Municipality appoints appropriately skilled and experienced administrators. It further appeal to the NCOP to apply its collective mind on the appointment of the Administrators, especially on the areas of their expertise, profiles and their relevancy against the task assigned to them. The tripartite intergovernmental approach amongst the following: SALGA, CoGTA and Provinces should ensure that the administrators leave behind unquestionable traces of skills to the benefit of the concerned municipalities in their resolve for stabilities.
17. Opinion of Municipal Political Parties
17.1 The member of the Democratic Alliance (DA) opposed the intervention in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution. The member raised concern about the appointment of unqualified directors, poor administration, incomplete municipal projects and the poor provision of basic services. The member of the African National Congress supported the intervention and further welcomed the progress made. The member informed the delegation of the Select Committee that the Municipality has, since the intervention, made progress in respect of building RDP houses in ward 6, electrification of houses, building of roads and ensuring municipal political and administrative stability.
18. Opinions of Members of Ward Committees
18.1 The member of the ward 4 supported the intervention, but however raised concerns with regard to the non-payment of services such as water and electricity.
18.2 The member of ward 9 supported the intervention and welcomed the attempts made by the municipal manager, to provide service delivery in Ventersdorp.
18.3 The member of ward 10 submitted support for the intervention and expressed a need to support community areas that are expressing service delivery challenges; the need to avoid uneven provision of services; consideration of land invasion and inclusive approach to deal with service delivery.
19. Opinion of Organised Labour
19.1 The representative of SAMWU raised concerns with regard to the municipal political instability, signing of performance contracts by non–qualified directors, delays on the progress made by the Administrator, non-provisioning of protective clothes to municipal workers, failure to provide tools of trade to workers for the provision of services. The representative of IMATU raised concerns on the non-sitting of meetings of the Local Labour Forum, delays with regard to approval of municipal organogram which impacted on the municipal Intergraded Development Planning and budgeting.
20. Opinion of the Youth Formation
20.1 The representative of the youth formation welcomed the report presented by the Administrator and raised concerns with regard to training and skills development and access to municipal bursary schemes.
21. Select Committee Observations
21.1 It was observed that the Municipality has no credible and functional indigent register, in respect of providing basic municipal services for the poor.
21.2 An observation was made on the non-functionality of ward committees in Ventersdorp. However, it should be pointed out that ward committees are a key institutional mechanism intended to contribute towards bringing about people-centred, participatory and democratic local governance.
21.3 There is slow revenue collection in the Municipality, which makes it more important to ensure that spending is prioritised appropriately, and implementation is effective and efficient. Good governance is critical in this regard.
22. Select Committee Recommendations
22.1 Considering the challenges and the progress made in Ventersdorp Local Municipality, the Select Committee recommends as follows:
22.1.1 The NCOP approves the intervention in Ventersdorp Local Municipality in terms of section 139(1)(b) of the Constitution.
22.1.2 The Administrator should verify and update the Municipality’s indigent register in order to ensure that the provision of basic to the community is provided in a sustainable manner, within the financial and administrative capacity.
22.1.3 The Administrator should submit a report to the NCOP on how many ward committees are functional, indicating the number of meetings that have been held and scheduled for the current municipal financial year.
22.1.4 The North West MEC for Local Government and Human Settlements should table quarterly progress reports to the NCOP and the Provincial Legislature on the status of the intervention in the Municipality, including the termination of the intervention report.
Report to be considered.
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